There are those that love to swim and those that hate the thought of it. Today I want to help you learn how to enjoy it a little more of every lap of the the pool. To begin with, swimming is the least destructive exercise you can do for your body. There's no pounding or muskuloskeletal stresses on ligaments, tendons or bones. The benefit of a virtually zero gravity environment is that our joints don't have to suffer to provide an excellent cardiovascular workout.
When I talk about the art of swimming without swimming what I'm really saying is it's time to understand some hydrodynamics. An easy test is to dive into the pool off the starting blocks if your local community pool has them and if not just be sure that the pool is deep enough and long enough for your glide. You don't want to go too deep or too shallow, you're going for distance. You don't need to swim either, you're just going to dive in and see how far you can glide until you stop. Put a towel, bathing cap or chair at the side of the pool deck to mark your distance. Now we'll try again but as you dive in this time just before you hit the water get those arms straight out with your biceps hugging your ears and hands together pushing them straight out through the water to the other end of the pool as far you can. Stay in that position like a spear until you stop and see where you've ended up?
If you understood what I was asking you to do your distance was probably 5 feet further than before. That's 5 feet less you have to swim. Now add that streamline effect to every turn and another five feet of swimming goes away. Doing this for twenty laps could save you a 100 feet of swimming then imagine the savings on 50 laps. Actually each stroke is going to use that concept and you'll reach straight out in front of you not quite fully extending your arm but reaching for an imaginary point just in front of your ears as you extend your arms. Take your stroke and make it a full one where your thumb is going to graze past your hip and reach to that imaginary point once again then pull. Right then left, right, left, nice full strokes. Underwater the stroke looks kind of like an "S" on the left pull and an upside down "S" with the right arm. Take it slow and before long you'll be swimming a lot less and enjoying it a lot more.
The next phase has to deal with our breathing. You want to learn to breath on both sides because i has two functions. Other than giving us oxygen breathing on both sides helps tremendously to balance your strokes. Have you ever swam in a lake or the ocean and thought you had been swimming in a straight line only to find it was more like a half circle? Yeah, I know, me too! That's usually caused by breathing every stroke and using only one side as your good side. I want you to try breathing every third stroke. The breath is a quick turn of the head to the opposite side of whichever arm is taking the stroke, sort of like a quick peak to the side while looking slightly forward. That's where you take the breath. They should be made every third stroke for best efficiency and balance. I know you've seen swimmers that sort of look like snakes zigzagging through the water. We don't want that, we're looking for a clean straight line if possible. Every stroke reaching out and pulling back with as little side to side motion as possible. If you can grasp the idea of breathing every third stroke you're going to have a fabulous time in the pool this summer without the drudgery that laps can often be. So stroke right, left, then right w/breath, left, right, then left with a breath, right, left, than right with a breath and you'll be practicing The Art of Swimming without Swimming. HAVE FUN!
Credits go to SIKANA & YouTube for providing an excellent instructional video!